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Home / Tips and Tricks / 5 clever Google Maps tricks that let you see more than just what's on the map

5 clever Google Maps tricks that let you see more than just what's on the map



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Wherever you are, you can use Google Maps to get an overview of what you will find there, from real-time crowd numbers to menus, prices and Contact Information


Angela Lang / CNET

I open the Google Maps app on my phone practically every day, although I rarely use it to get directions. It may not be obvious at first glance, but Google Maps can do a lot more than just point A to point B. All these high-resolution satellite imagery and color-coded traffic patterns hide a powerful search tool that is full of real-time crowdsourcing data on retail stores, restaurants, professional offices, public parks, and virtually anywhere else you want to go.

Turn-by-turn directions are so in the last decade compared to some recent updates from Google Maps, for which the greatly improved transit navigation and [1945901717] AI language include translation and incognito mode to prevent leaving a trace of paper . If you're already familiar with Google Maps as a navigation tool, you can only tap, press, or swipe on next-level features.

To unlock the hidden power of the Google Maps app on your phone or tablet, check out the five ways I use Google Maps almost every day that have nothing to do with getting directions.

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See how long the line is from Walmart to the DMV.

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Screenshot from Dale Smith / CNET

Before I go out the door, whether I go to Walmart, the grocery store, the doctor's office, or to renew my driving license, I almost always check Google Maps to see exactly how busy I can be with my goal. Here's how to look up this information.

In the Google Maps app, tap the company or location you want to visit and scroll down until you see a graphic labeled Popular Times . Tap the day of the week if you are planning a trip later this week.

Tap the red column to view current pedestrian traffic data, or one of the blue columns to see a summary of how busy you can be at another time: Not busy Not too busy A little busy or As busy as possible .

Next, under the Schedule Your Visit heading, you will find general information such as waiting times ("up to 5 minutes from 6 a.m. to 12 noon") and length of average visit ("). People usually spend 20 minutes here "). Now you know whether you can go in and out at lightning speed or whether you need to pack a good book or plan your visit for another day when the waiting times are not that long.

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Would you like to wait for a restaurant to sit before you set off? Check out "People's Times" to see when the crowd normally subsides.


James Martin / CNET

Review menus, photos, and customer reviews.

In addition to navigation tools, Google Maps is also a comprehensive crowdsourcing review app, similar to Yelp or TripAdvisor, so you can get a good idea of ​​what kind of options your travel destination offers, as well as price, presentation, and whether you are have to take out a loan to be able to afford it.

This feature is particularly useful if your destination is a restaurant, hotel, or bar, where previewing menu options and prices – not to mention a good view of the dishes and decor – make or break your decision can try a place new. For those who trust the wisdom of the crowd, the five-star average of restaurants as well as individual ratings will also be displayed to help you decide.

Most restaurant entries have a navigation bar at the top with Overview Menu Reviews and Photos as options (you may need to scroll to see all ). Tap on one of them or just scroll down. The link labeled "Menu" is often listed directly under the operating hours. However, keep scrolling until you see the Popular Dishes heading to see photos of food. Go through Popular Times almost to the end to find the five star average and user ratings of the restaurant.

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James Martin / CNET

Book a table or place an order for execution or delivery.

Once you take a quick look at all of your restaurant options, you usually don’t even have to leave the Google Maps app to make a reservation. If you prefer to eat at home, you can usually also order take-out or delivery via the app.

If the restaurant you have chosen uses a booking service such as OpenTable you will see a tab under the menu menu that can search for either table or Reserve Table is . You do not have to register with the booking service to make the reservation (although if you collect bonus points or otherwise actively use the service, you would want to anyway).

Look for an option labeled "Execution or Delivery" Place Order . A pop-up window gives you a list of available services such as DoorDash or Postmates. However, you have to log in to complete your order. So if you have an account with one of these services, you probably want to select it. [19659037] Hey, Google Assistant, how did you get my iPhone?

I spend most of my digital life in the famous walled garden of the Apple ecosystem, with one exception: I use a Google Home ($ 79 at Walmart) with Google Assistant to close my smart home Taxes.

Google Assistant is not integrated into iOS like Apple's less powerful voice assistant Siri but with a setting in Google Maps you can push Siri aside so that you always have access to Google Assistant when navigating.

To set the Google Maps app on your iPhone to wait for "OK, Google" when navigating, open the Google Maps app and tap the menu icon (the three stacked horizontal lines on the left) from the search bar), then tap Settings . At the top of the page, under the Locomotion heading, tap Navigation, and then scroll to the option. Access your assistant with "OK Google" and turn to toggle.

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Google Assistant is integrated on Google Home devices like this Nest Hub. On iPhones, however, you need to use a Google app like Google Maps to call the digital sidekick. [19659003] Dale Smith / CNET

Admittedly, this workaround is a little shaky – you have to set Google Maps to navigate to a specific destination for the "OK, Google" voice command to work, and you can't call Siri with "Hey, Siri". while this function is activated. But until Android can poach me from my iPhone, it's better than nothing.

Find hours, phone numbers, zip codes, and more.

Whenever I need to know when a shop or office opens or closes or whether I call the place and I don't have a number, or in rare cases when I need the zip code for a company for which the street name and the Number are all i know straight away (e.g. for an application) i go directly to google maps to get these answers and more.

Here you can quickly and easily find basic information on locations listed on Google Maps:

Operating hours : The operating hours of the companies are displayed directly under the address. You can tap the down arrow next to today's closing time to display the hours for other days of the week. Most entries are updated with special holiday times, which are highlighted in red.

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Find the zip code for almost every company in the US by searching on Google Maps for their name or street. [19659003] Angela Lang / CNET

Phone numbers : In most listings you will find the phone number outside of opening hours. To call it without leaving Google Maps, tap the number, and then tap the pop-up that displays the prompt for followed by the number.

Website : If the company has a website, it will be listed on the phone number. Tap to open the website in a tab supported by Google Chrome in the Google Maps app.

Postcode : This is less common, but when I used it, Google Maps saved me a lot of time. Enter either the street name and the house number or the company name and tap on Search. At the top of the list next to the address you will now see the postcode.

Of course, Google Maps is also packed with features to help you accomplish what the app is most obviously designed for – show how you can get where you want to go. Start with these six Google Maps tricks that you probably don't know yet . If you use Google Maps to navigate a large road trip, these tips will help make your trip as smooth as possible . If you encounter accidents, speeding or other slowdowns on the go, you can now report up to seven different types of traffic accident directly on the Google Maps app.

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Originally published last month.


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